Sequoia Financial Group, a $4.7 billion RIA based in New York and Akron, Ohio, has joined the trend in the wealth management space of partnering with private equity investors.
Sequoia announced Tuesday that it sold a minority stake to passive investor Kudu Investment Management, which has investments in 13 wealth management firms and is owned by White Mountains Insurance Group.
Leon LaBrecque, Sequoia’s chief growth officer, said the decision to take private equity capital is part of a “durability plan.”
“We need a sustainable capital pool,” he said. “When you get to a certain size it’s difficult to create a market for ownership shares. Bringing in an institutional partner gave us the opportunity to let employees still buy shares.”
In addition to helping to diversify the ownership structure, the PE partnership will also enable Sequoia get involved in the merger and acquisition trend.
“We want to do some bigger deals,” LaBrecque said. “We think this whole world has changed so much in last 120 days, and we’re going to see some great opportunities.”
Despite managing nearly $5 billion, Sequoia has not been among the more aggressive buyers in the wealth management space. The firm has made just five acquisitions over the past 15 years, the most recent of which closed in early 2019 when Sequoia acquired LaBrecque’ s firm, LJPR Financial Advisors.
Sequoia is majority-owned by employees and continues to be led by Tom Haught, founder and CEO.
“In our pursuit of building an enduring firm, we are creating generational capital that will strengthen us now and offer durability and continuity for the future,” Haught said. “Kudu’s investment will help accelerate our U.S. expansion plans and support our mission, which is to be our clients’ most trusted adviser.”
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